Planning Your Summer Vacation, When Should You Book?

plane-vacation holiday travel pixa 80

Now that spring break is over we start thinking about the next vacation, most people don’t start booking their summer hols until after Memorial Day, at the end of May, but earlier booking can mean more options and greater savings.

I know this advice is a little late for this year, but November is a great time to buy flights for the following year. During black Friday/cyber Monday when most people were looking for deals on electronics and other giftware airlines were also offering some amazing deals on travel for the new year. I nabbed two tickets from Los Angeles to London over spring break for a lot less than the usual price for one!

It meant some fast decision making and several hours booking and rebooking as tickets went fast and I had to work around school vacation, but to save more than a THOUSAND dollars it was well worth it.

We booked with Air New Zealand, this was my first flight with them and I was impressed. A couple of other airlines that are worth looking into for good prices on flights to Europe are Iceland air WOW and Norwegian air.

If you didn’t already book now is a great time to start planning as flight prices are usually at their best around 100 days in advance.

For the best rates try to fly midweek, if you must fly on the weekend Saturday is usually better priced than Friday and Sunday flights.


What are your top tips for booking flights?

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Unlike White Shoes, Sun Protection Is Still In Style After Labor Day!


Just because it’s after Labor Day…don’t pack away the Sun protection!

Summer may be officially over, the  kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter. While you might be packing the beach towels away in favor of the Halloween decorations, now is not the time to stop the sun protection

September is still a hot month with strong UV rays, in Los Angeles we’re expecting temps around 100 this weekend!

Even after the temperatures drop and the sun isn’t’ blazing so high in the sky, it still emits those UV rays that damage your skin, so your sun protection needs to remain within reach.

In fact what many don’t know is sun exposure can be damaging even in the cold winter months.  While UVB rays, )responsible for redness and burning), are weaker in the mornings, afternoons and non-summer months, UVA rays are at their full strength all day all year long, and they pass through glass!

UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB causing wrinkling and long-term damage which may not show up for many years

So keep your UV Protective clothing to hand, along with a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sun screen.

Make sure the sunscreen has BROAD SPECTRUM protection and if your sunscreen has been boiling away in the glove box all summer, it’s time to chuck it away and replace it.SUNNY SLEEVEZ 40% OFF

Posted in Beach, Gardening, Health, Outdoor Living, Skin, skin cancer, Snow Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Making This Mistake Could Ruin Your Vacation


Nothing puts a damper on vacation like reaching for your smart phone or wallet only to find it’s gone. Often signs warning of pick pocketing activity in popular tourist places are actually helpful for pickpockets too! Why? Because as soon as we see that warning sign, our instinct is to immediately reach for our valuables to be sure we haven’t already been a target.

Pickpockets watch for tourists to check their valuables then follow them to another location before helping themselves

The number one target item today is a smart phone, not only for the phone but mostly for the data it contains.

DO make sure your phone and its SIM card are both protected with a PIN

DO Keep a record of your phone’s IMEI number (dial *#06# to locate it) that way you can block it in the event that it is pick pocketed.

DON’T keep your drivers license with your credit cards, you don’t want thieves to have your money as well as your birthday and home address!

DO keep a spare credit card in a different location Light as a feather, cool as a breeze, blocks 97% UV scarf

DON’T keep your wallet in your back pocket

DO keep a simple rubber band around your wallet; it makes it harder to slip out of a pocket

DO keep backup copies of passport, insurance documents, driver’s license etc in a secure location preferably online so you can access them easily in the event you are a victim.

Most of all be aware of your surroundings, be suspicious of anyone trying to misdirect your attention, or groups of people who “accidentally” bump into you

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The Friday before Memorial Day is “Don’t Fry Day”


use code NOBURN

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention is spreading the word that the Friday before Memorial Day as Don’t Fry Day. The Council want to encourage sun safety awareness by reminding everyone to protect their skin for sun damage whilst still enjoying the outdoors on Don’t Fry Day and every day.

Remember to Slip! Slop! Slap!…and Wrap when you’re outdoors — slip on a (UV blocking) clothing, slop on BROAD SPECTRUM sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses.



Don’t fry day

Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, follow as many of the following tips as possible:

  • Wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat 3inches at least, and sunglasses.
  • Apply BROAD SPECTRUM sunscreen generously (remember it takes 20 minutes to even start working, so plan ahead and apply 20 minutes being going out in the sun).
  • Avoid sun burns, tanning, and using tanning beds.
  • Seek shade between 10am and 4pm.
  • Use extra caution near water and sand. Remember reflective surfaces increase the intensity of the rays.
  • Get vitamin D safely through food and vitamin D supplements.

As warm weather approaches and millions of Americans prepare to enjoy the great outdoors, the risk for ultraviolet (UV) damage of the skin increases. Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States, and the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer.

The best way to detect skin cancer early is to examine your skin regularly and recognize changes in moles and skin growths.



Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation. Using a sunless self-tanning product and continuing to apply sunscreen can help greatly reduce skin cancer risk.

People with lighter-toned skin are more at risk of UV damage, although people of all races can and do develop skin cancer. If you have a family history of skin cancer, lots of moles or freckles, or a history of severe childhood sunburns you are at a higher risk of skin cancer.

It’s never too early to start educating your children to be sun smart using jewelry with color changing beads that react to UV light can be a big help as your kids get to become UV detectives!

Minimizing the dangerous effects of unprotected sun exposure, should be a life-long practice for everyone.

Posted in Health, skin cancer, Sun Safe Info | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Water Wise – 2 easy ways to reduce your water use (and save a few dollars too)


  • In the shower, turn off the water. Wet hair and body, turn off shower head, then lather up head and body, turn on water to rinse. Most shower heads use 2-3 gallons of water per minute so even turning the shower off for 30-60 seconds whilst you apply soap/shampoo/shower gel can add up to as much as 500 gallons a year per person!
  • Shampoo once and rinse. The “shampoo-twice” instruction probably came from manufacturers who wanted to sell more shampoo, excessive shampooing can remove too much of the natural oils (sebum) from the hair which is necessary to maintain the hair in its comfortable acid/base environment (pH), especially if you do it on a daily basis. Rinsing twice also uses twice the water GET READY FOR SUMMER CAMP SUN PROTECTION SUN SHRUG SUN SLEEVES

Do you have any water saving tips to share?

Posted in Eco Info | Tagged , | 15 Comments

DIY No Nasty Chemical Bathroom Freshner – No Poo Pourri – That REALLY Works

toilet loo outhouse pxby snow winter poo pourri

As you know I’m keen on saving water, amongst other tips we have taught the children not to flush with every visit to the toilet, unfortunately this has been interpreted into NEVER flush EVER!

Number 1 son reads on the can, so lost in Harry Potter is he, that when he is spotted heading toward the bathroom and the sound of a shower running is NOT heard it is customary to set a timer for 30 – 60 minutes (depending on the time of day), after which we commence pounding on the door so that he can go to bed, get to school, go on vacation! 60+ minutes is a long time for the air to become overwhelmingly polluted and the moment the seal on the door is broken a toxic cloud is released into the rest of the house with eye watering results!

Number 2 child (pardon eh pun) has her head in the clouds, where presumably she is unaware of the explosive nature of her offerings below. Whispering to herself on the throne she leaves the pot still chatting to her imaginary friends, she forgets she was even sitting to the loo, her leave-behind is anything but ladylike, and in the absence of flushing it is the gift that keeps on giving, in the form of an acrid stench. If it weren’t that her dropped drawers would bind her thighs and would cause her to trip she’d probably forget to pull up her pants! No amount of nagging, threats, or notices placed in the bathroom are ever heeded.

This is bad enough when it’s just us but when we have visitors it can be truly mortifying as any amount of pre-guest cleaning can be undone in the seconds before the doorbell rings, leaving us calling ‘just a minute’, rushing to the bathrooms for a last minute stink sweep

It was with great excitement (sad huh) I heard about a poo spray that is to be used BEFORE ‘dropping the kids at the pool’. It contains essential oils that essentially coat the deposits, sealing in the odor rather than trying to merely improve or cover the toxic stench after the event has become airborne. However great it might be the commercial brand is a tad pricey so I wanted to try a DIY version.

  • I got a small spray bottle in a travel pack at the dollar store
  • 20-30 drops of Essential Oil (I used lavender in one bathroom and peppermint in the other).
  • 1 tsp rubbing alcohol
  • Water


  • Pour rubbing alcohol in a 3 oz spray container
  • Add essential oils, alcohol keeps the oils from separating thus no shaking before each use.
  • Add water to fill the container.
  • Give it a good shake
  • 3-4 sprays are sufficient to cover the bowl and prevent nasty waftings.

IT WORKS! For most people you give a few sprays into the bowl before downloading but in the case of the children’s bathroom I spray every time I go by in anticipation of the inevitable

Store bought brand $11.99

Homemade = less than $1 – now that doesn’t stink!

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Recycle, Reuse, DIY No Waste Birdfeeder


I HATE wasting food so I was none too pleased when I dropped an entire brand new baDIY EASY BIRDFEEDERg of peanuts on the not-clean-enough-to-eat-off kitchen floor.

I can’t throw the nuts on the ground or the distracted festing birds will just become kitty snacks! After a bit of pondering I came up with a solution that I thought I’d share.

You need

1) toilet roll tube

2) peanut butter

3) wire from the outside of a lettuce

4) spilled nuts

Slather toilet roll with peanut butter, press in peanuts, hang somewhere out of the reach of peckish moggies!

Have you made you own feeder? Have you created a clever way to use up food that would otherwise go to waste?

Posted in DIY, Eco Info, Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments